Ooma to ALL phones in the house

UPDATED: May 27, 2011 (clarify the Ooma wiring diagram)

Yesterday, an acquaintance ( Bob Gannon@bobgannon) asked me whether one could use the Ooma Hub to power all of the phones throughout your home.

That is a GOOD QUESTION! When I bought the unit, that was my original intention. But, as Bob stated, there is very little info about this. That is understandable since Ooma probably wants you NOT to use it that way. Let me explain…

The Ooma Hub “normally” will be set up as a supplement to your normal fixed phone line.  This is how it is described in their documentation (page 2 of the user guide):

By using the ooma system with a landline, you increase the reliability of your phone service and retain traditional 911 services. This allows you to make and receive phone calls, including 911 calls, even if your Internet service is down or your power is out….

The benefits of setting up the Ooma system this way:

  • The standard setup is simple and quick and does not require any rewiring of the home.
  • If you use this setup, then all of Ooma’s documentation works correctly.
  • The standard setup is REQUIRED if you want to use the Ooma Scout. The Scout allows you to have a second Ooma “private” phone number and provides an “extension” phone connection elsewhere in your home.
  • Even if you disconnect your fixed phone line, everything will still work as described

The downside of the “normal” setup:

  • You ONLY have Ooma phone service on whatever phone(s) are connected directly to the Ooma Hub (or optionally, the Scout).
  • The placement of the Hub (near your Internet Modem) may not be a convenient location to place the ONLY Ooma phone.
  • If you do set up the Ooma as secondary, then the answer to Bob’s question is “No. You cannot use the Ooma for “whole house phone service.”

So to offset some of these problems, Ooma offers the Ooma Scout as an alternative. The Scout allows you to have a second Ooma phone line and a “private” number plus other benefits. (Note: The use of the Ooma Scout requires you to pay for their “Premier service.)

My solution: (The order of these steps is important. It may take a couple weeks or more for the phone company to complete all of the actions). If your ISP is Cable or Fiber, you can skip to item #4.

NOTE: I have eliminated DSL from my vocabulary – Cable is now at 30-60Mb/s while DSL/uVerse is (at best) about 7Mb/s.

  1. If you have DSL/Uverse, etc then request that the phone company move the DSL connection from your home phone number to a “dry line.” Tell them that you will – at a later time – “port” your home phone number to another provider and you want to retain DSL service WITHOUT attached phone service. This will change the DSL’s phone number to another number and the installer will place the (new) DSL line on a separate connection at the phone company’s box on your home. This MUST be completed prior to starting item #4 in order to retain the same phone number after you connect the Ooma device.
  2. Connect your DSL modem to the NEW DSL connection and assure that you can connect to the Internet. Your fixed phone line and all existing phones will still be connected to the original phone connection and still will work correctly until you decide to turn off the land line / fixed phone service.
  3. After the installer has moved the DSL connection, you can remove all of the DSL filters from your phone lines. They will no longer be needed whether you use an Ooma device or not.
  4. Activate your Ooma Hub and request a SEPARATE Ooma phone number. You can port your home phone number later.
  5. Connect the Ooma Hub to your Modem (DSL, Cable, or Fiber) according to the instructions included with the Ooma device. The Cat5 cable should be connected to the Ooma’s “MODEM” connector. (You can connect a computer or router to the Cat5 connector marked “HOME” on the Ooma. )
  6. Forward all calls from your phone company number to the new Ooma phone number. (This service may require an additional expense but you will only need  it until your number is ported and then it will become your Ooma phone number.
  7. Disconnect the telephone company’s line from your home phone system. For Cable or Fiber Internet, this can be done by simply unplugging the plug in the box where the telephone service enters your home. If you have DSL, it becomes more difficult since the telephone line must be connected to the DSL Modem. However, if you want the Ooma to operate on normal inside telephone wiring, you MUST disconnect that wiring from the outside wiring! The simplest way is to wire the DSL modem directly to the outside wiring and then disconnect all inside wiring. For this to work, the ONLY connection to the outside telephone wiring can be the DSL modem.

    Ooma to entire house

    How to wire the Ooma for whole house

  8. THIS STEP IS IMPORTANT! – DO NOT connect the Ooma “Wall” jack to the phone jack on the wall as they show in the Ooma documentation. Instead, connect the Ooma “Phone” jack to the inside wiring. The “Wall” jack can be used ONLY to connect a Ooma Scout for a second phone number / line. Any connection to the Ooma “Wall” jack MUST be kept separate from any other phone lines and used EXCLUSIVELY to connect to the Scout.
  9. At this point, all of your phones will be active on the Ooma line & Ooma phone number. All calls made either to your old home phone number OR to the new Ooma phone number will ring all the phones in your house. All outgoing calls will be made via the Ooma hub and all US calls will be free. Note that anyone you call will see your CallerID number as the Ooma number so this may be confusing but it will only be for a short time (until you port the old number to the Ooma.).

This is the end of the essential steps in the process. You can now try it out and still go back to your old POTS phone without any difficulty. If you want to return, just disconnect the Ooma and reconnect the inside and outside telephone lines.

  1. When you are satisfied with the call quality and service that the Ooma device provides, begin the process of porting your old home phone number to the Ooma. Ooma currently charges $39.99 for this service but your phone company should not charge you anything for their part. (Note: Ooma provides porting w/o charge if you purchase their Premier service at $120 per year.)
  2. You should now be set up with Ooma to make and receive calls without any long distance charges or monthly fees! All phones connected to your existing home phone wiring should work properly and you can use any normal phone or device at any jack. I hate fax machines so I don’t know if they work or not but I THINK they will.

DISCLAIMER: This and all guides & How-To’s on this site are given as general information only. You are entirely responsible for your own actions. I will not be held liable for any damage done as a result of your attempts to follow these guides. USE THEM AT YOUR OWN RISK!

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25 Responses to Ooma to ALL phones in the house

  1. Laura E. says:

    Thank You So Much for putting this out! You helped me install all our phones to Ooma when we first bought the system a few years ago & again today for our new house because I forgot how I did it last time. Way better instructions than the Ooma rep.

    • Ray says:

      Congratulations! We all enjoy saving money!
      If you want to help me a little, you can hit the “Donate” button on the home page.
      You can also visit our advertiser links and that helps a little.

  2. Kris says:

    Great post….

    I have a question about step 1. Sounds like what you are suggesting is that ATT run a second line for the dry DSL…am I misreading that? I’m concerned about having to pay for a technician to do that work.

    Thanks!

    • Ray says:

      Hey Kris: If you do not have DSL / Uverse, then you don’t need to worry about the first 3 steps.
      But, a “dry line” is just phone company talk. It does include a technician installing a second wired line for the modem to connect to (separate from your POTS phone line.)
      My recommendation is, if cable is available to you – get their Internet service FIRST. Then, you can hook up the Ooma (or other VOIP device), get it working and then just port your existing phone number to the Ooma and all is well. AKA, start at step 4.

  3. John says:

    Ray, I had Cox Cable for phone service prior to getting Ooma. I am trying to figure out how to connect Ooma to my internal house lines. It appears Cox disconnected the Qwest lines and then ran 4 little lines over to the Qwest box from which a new phone line was run into my house. Cox also has two phone jacks plugged into their box. What do I do with these two jacks and 4 little wires hooked up in the Cox Cable box? I tried disconnecting the 4 little wires in the COX box then unplugging the two jacks in there box then hooking Ooma to the new phone line Cox has run into the house but I get nothing at all when I do that.

    • Ray says:

      I am not familiar with the Cox setup but here is what I did, relative my previous ATT box.
      1. Disconnect the plug (inside the box) which will disconnect the in-house wiring from the outside wiring.
      2. Connect the Cat5 cable from your router to the Ooma device.
      3. Connect a standard phone cable from the Ooma (“Phone”) connector to ANY phone jack in the house.
      4. Connect a standard phone to any OTHER phone jack in the house.

  4. George A. Sinese says:

    Ray,,, thank God for good-hearted knowledgeable human beings like yourself, who can put the “cookies on the bottom shelf so we can all reach them” ! !

  5. Steve says:

    I currently have voip through Time Warner Cable. I purchased an Ooma Hub & Scout new about 2 years ago and have never opened it. (still in the shrink wrap). I want to dump the TWC setup and finally make the switch to Ooma. I want to set it up so all the phones in my house are connected to the system. I’m debating selling the Hub & Scout on Ebay and buying a Telo as I don’t really need the Scout. I (think) I can set the ringer on the Ooma so my phone answering system will answer first which is what I want. Also, I read that my system wouldn’t be grandfathered in for the no monthly cost.

    I’d like your input. Should i sell the Hub & Scout and buy the Telo or just hook up what I have? I can probably sell it for what I can buy a Telo for. Any benefits to go with the Telo?

    Thanks!

  6. Dinh Le says:

    Hi Ray,
    I just bought an ooma phone and connected it to att u-verse modem. The phone is working, however some numbers from att, Verizon and landline cannot make call to my ooma phone. Do you think the issue from the firewall of modem.? Thanks.

    • Ray says:

      It is probably AT&T configuration. They may even be blocking certain numbers. I really don’t have any way to help you troubleshoot the issue. Call Ooma and they can assist you.

  7. Darrell says:

    Hey Ray, I’ve cancelled my dsl and upgraded to U-Verse (12down). How do I run Ooma throughout the house, and will the increased speed improve my call quality. I had 1.5(tested at 1.22-1.24) Will the call quality improve to that of a landline. Also, I’m looking to puschase a UPS for emergencies. Do you have any suggestion’s, and if so what Voltage would keep me up for at least an hour? Thanks for the advice.

    • Ray Waldo says:

      The article above should have all the info you need to hook up and use the existing phone lines throughout the house.
      The call quality should be at least as good as the old standard phone service. Plus you will have a lot of extras.
      I don’t use a UPS. They are all running 110 volts. The difference is the amperage. How large a device you will need is dependent upon how much current you will draw from it. If you only want to keep the Ooma up for an hour, you may be able to do that. However, if you want to run your computer, monitor, printer, and similar things, then 5-20 minutes is more likely. The idea was to give you time to PROPERLY shut down a desktop computer after the power failed.

  8. David Altman says:

    My whole house phone service is currently provided by Charter Cable system which does not rely on DSL, but rather their own cable system and does not require computer. Their installation included disconnecting phone line from outside line, then splicing in a phone plug which is plugged into a modem they supply. So can I simply unplug whole house line from their modem and plug phone line into regular OOMA?

    • Ray Waldo says:

      Yes, that is precisely what I did with my Ooma Hub & with the (NEW) MagicJack Plus device. It should also work with the Vonage or any other VOIP that offers the standard telephone jack where you could plug in a regular phone. Note that the Ooma Hub includes TWO such jacks and the process is confused since their NORMAL installation includes using the SCOUT. The line that drives the Scout (labelled “Wall”) is NOT a standard phone line and will NOT work. You MUST plug your phone lines into the jack labelled “Phone.”

    • Dan says:

      Hi Ray

      Thanks for the great post.
      I’m still in need of a little help. I have Comcast for my phone/ tv / internet. My plan is to drop the phone only, but I cannot figure out where to disconnect line to enable me to use my house phone lines in all rooms. All I see is an exposed board with hundreds of little wires and a dozen or so blue wires going in to the board.

      Can you help?

      • Ray Waldo says:

        With multi-handset wireless phones, you don’t need it. Just hook up the master phone to the Ooma and enjoy the remotes wherever you want them.
        Can you use a standard phone with your comcast service? One from Walmart, etc? If so then look for the standard phone line out of the comcast box. Connect that line to the Ooma. Look at the end where the phone plugs in to determine the color code. You only use two wires. Old 4-wire cable, it was red and green. The new cable has 6 or more wires and often uses blue and blue/white.

  9. k Metts says:

    I have dsl direct I have it setup to come in to the dsl modem/router the ooma hub is going to a wall jack that is hooked up to the rest of the phones in the house (seperate wiring from the dsl). I get static at first and then about ever 15 seconds a different noise will be on the phone for about a second, then back to the dial tone. I can type a number to dial and the call never goes through. I have a att 2wire wireless gateway router and as soon as I pick up a phone the dsl light will turn red until I hang up.

    • Ray Waldo says:

      I updated the original article in my attempt to clarify the wiring diagram. Check steps 7 and 8 of the instructions. I drew a rough diagram of how to wire the device. I hope that helps.
      Particularly: The Ooma “Wall” jack can be used ONLY to connect a Ooma Scout for a second phone number / line. Any connection to the Ooma “Wall” jack MUST be kept separate from any other phone lines and used EXCLUSIVELY to connect to the Scout.
      The DSL Modem will show data transfer when the Ooma is working.

  10. k Metts says:

    I have the same problem with the ooma hub as he did with the telo.

    I have the HUB connected from the phone jack on the hub to the wall jack (physically on the wall not the one on the hub). Whenever I pick up a phone, I hear static at first then the ooma dial tone, then about ever 15 seconds a different noise will be on the phone for about a second, then back to the dial tone. I can type a number to dial and the call never goes through. I have a att 2wire wireless gateway router and as soon as I pick up a phone the dsl light will turn red until I hang up.

    Please help???

    Thanks

    • Ray Waldo says:

      You can’t use the Ooma full house on the same lines that you have pots on. Since you have dsl, you must connect the dsl modem to the external telephone lines but nothing else. Connect the hub according to my instructions and you will be good to go.
      If you are not ready to leave the old pots line then you cannot have the Ooma whole house. You could but it would have to have separate wiring for all attached phones.

  11. Linda says:

    I bought the Hub/Scout. I have 2 phone lines. How do I set this up so I can keep both my phone numbers. I use one for faxing and one for calls.

    • Ray Waldo says:

      Great question, Linda!
      First: The Scout will only work with the PREMIUM subscription ($120/year). I believe that the first year is included in the purchase price. That also gives you a second number.

      If you set up the Hub as I describe in this article, you can add a telephone wire between the Hub’s “wall” connection and the Scout’s “wall” connector. Then attach the FAX to the Scout’s “phone” connection and it should work fine. NOTICE – You CANNOT connect the Scout to any other connection except directly to the “wall” connector on the Hub! In the setup that I describe in the article, this connection is empty.

      You should be allowed to transfer your primary number to the Hub w/o charge but you might have to pay $30 to transfer your existing Fax number to the Scout. Or, just change to the number that Ooma assigns. You should call Ooma about that. (NOTE: I am NOT affiliated with Ooma in any way and receive NO gratuity from them.)

  12. Shivum says:

    I followed all of these steps but when i try to use a phone after its connected to the wall (even if its one directly connected to the telo with a splitter), I get a static noise throughout the whole entire call. If i disconnect ooma from my home jack then all of my calls are clear. Any Solutions? Please e-mail me back.

    Thanks

    • Ray Waldo says:

      The instructions are for the Ooma HUB – not the Telo. I don’t have a Telo so I don’t know the proper way to hook it up. However, if you want to give me a call, I probably can help you figure it out.

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